The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'Disclosure':
Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The majority of the books reviewed in this series are technical in
some respect. With the exception of "Eaters of the Dead,"
"Disclosure" might be considered the least technical of Crichton's
corpus. However, there are a couple of points to be made.
The plot is played out against the backdrop of the high tech industry.
Once again, Crichton has demonstrated that, whatever technical
understanding he had when he started the writing kick, he is long out
of date and way over his head. A presentation of an Internet message
header looks as if it might have been run through PGP (Pretty Good
Privacy) first. (The domain name is .com.edu, for crying out loud.
Are we to assume that the for-profit educational businesses have their
own slice of the .edu domain?) I will admit that the trick of having
what appears to be an email spoof turn out to be a simple piece of
social engineering is cute, but does show that the author has no idea
how childishly easy it is to spoof SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer
Protocol). DAT (Digital *Audio* Tape) is not that popular as a
storage medium, and videoconferences, if stored at all, would probably
be kept on 8mm, if from a real video feed, or in a QuickTime or MPEG
(Motion Picture Experts Group) format file if done over the net.
The manufacturing problems are partially realistic, but mostly not.
Out-of-spec components from suppliers are always a concern. But hand-
placement of chips would not create reliability problems. Hand-placed
chips would require old fashioned socketing, which isn't used anymore.
You could possibly do hand-placement with through-board standing-wave
soldering fabrication. It would simply be impossible with modern
surface-mount manufacturing pin densities. Someone who was already
worried about air quality would immediately understand the
implications of a request for sealed packages, so it is hard to see
why he would cooperate, given his involvement. But in any case, CD-
ROM drives are removable drives, and as such must be designed to
operate in ambient air quality. Particulate aerosols would be a non-
issue, for manufacturing defects.
The virtual reality system is not unreasonable. (Yes, OK, Crichton
gets a point for knowing one data security insider joke, and another
point for not pushing it.) The very helpful ability to see who else
is in the system (even those accessing the database from outside the
VR), *and* to see what they are doing, is a bit much. What Web page
tells you how many other people are accessing it at the same time, let
alone a secured system?
Since the book is all about power, it is odd that one power equation
is left out. Tom is the naif, used as the foil to allow the author to
get in his preaching about sexual harassment. It is easy to feel for
mentor Max's exasperation with Tom, since Tom never really does
anything, it all (including the conveniently high access entry card)
just drops into his lap. Or, it would be easier if Max ever came up
with any ideas, or there was ever any result from his incessant
needling. (Of course, nothing ever comes of the bad guys plots,
either ...) Meredith, of course, is the ambitious game-player, but
seems, by the end, to be better described as a sociopath. The
denouement is very weak, relying, as it does, on a socio-cultural
analysis that would be completely beyond her. (Simple forgetfulness
might work ...) Actually, though, Meredith is nowhere near as
conniving as Crichton foreshadows. Mark represents those of limited
competence, able to deal with their jobs, but not really understanding
what is going on around them. Stephanie proves Kipling's point: the
female *is* much more subtle and deadly than the male. Bob seems to
represent the world, irresponsibly throwing, with failing and
basically despairing hands, the torch to those whom it really has not
But the real tragedy is Don. Don who actually produces. Don who
solves the problem. Don who is relegated to his basement lab and his
minor revenge easter egg buried in help menus. Don, whose work and
job lies at the mercy of the feuding mandarins who do not understand
what they are fighting over.
Which oversight, on its own, basically proves that Crichton is out of
Reviewer Koos van den Hout wrote:
In the excruciating detailed writing style of Michael Crichton the story of a man in a web of sexual harassment and company matters with more behind it then is visible. A movie has been made of this book but it's not a very good version of the story.
Add my review for Disclosure